How To Approach Difficult Decisions With Aging Loved Ones

As we grow up, most of us face some harsh realities relating to aging loved ones. The hope, of course, is that everyone remains healthy and self-sufficient until a ripe old age, and many times that’s the case! But even ordinary health issues and changes that occur with natural aging can leave family members with difficult decisions to make.

No one, small article can teach you how to confront all of these problems. To some extent you won’t know what to do or how to handle things until the time comes. But here we’ll at least go over a few things to consider with regard to some common, difficult decisions.

How To Approach Difficult Decisions With Aging Loved Ones

What To Do About Driving

It’s never easy to imagine trying to take driving privileges from an aging family member. To begin with, you’ll probably feel like it’s not your place to do so. But you’ll also be sensitive to the fact that driving represents independence, and for an elderly individual that can be very meaningful. At the same time, however, there can come a time when a senior simply shouldn’t be behind the wheel. What can you do about it?

The key is to simply take a reasoned and sensitive approach. But you can also put the decision in professional hands. There are actually senior screening programs that can check for some of the common causes of dangerous driving by aging individuals, and in some cases work on certain issues. Your family member or loved one may still need to give up driving at some point, but if you agree to this sort of screening the decision can be easier to make together.

When To Consider Assisted Living

This is probably one of the hardest decisions that families face. Most elderly individuals are understandably hesitant about it, and most younger people hate the idea of “putting someone in a home.” The thing is, though, that phrase is somewhat outdated in its negative connotations.

That’s not to say there aren’t some places that are less than ideal, or that better homes aren’t more expensive. But in a general sense, assisted living facilities have gotten better over the years. If you take your time searching for the right place and you and your family make the decision together, you can actually find a wonderful home for a loved one in need of help.

How To Counter Loneliness

An assisted living facility can in some cases work wonders to counter the feelings of loneliness that some elderly individuals experience when they start to be less active or social. There are usually group gathering places and even organized activities where people can make new friends and engage in all kinds of social interactions. But you also don’t want to rely on assisted living specifically to cure loneliness.

Ideally, this is something you can work on with other family members. It can feel a little contrived at first, but there’s nothing wrong with organizing a sort of schedule or rotation for contacting an aging family member. And it’s easier than it ever has been! Thanks to modern video chat and other methods, you can easily talk to anyone with a phone or tablet at just about any time. It’s important to recognize this and, together with your family, stay involved in aging loved ones’ lives.

Dealing With Mental Conditions

This is one of the things you actually can’t deal with on your own, but if it comes up you should still be prepared. Elderly individuals often deal with mental deterioration whether it be a slight decline in memory or attention, or a full-fledged condition like dementia or Alzheimer’s.

In extreme cases, neurologists or neurosurgical specialists might be required to give you the best idea of what’s going on and what can be done about it. But before you even get to that stage, the most important thing is to stay alert to any changes you can notice in behavior. Some conditions can’t really be dealt with anyway, but the earlier you catch any kind of deterioration or condition, the better chance you’ll have of slowing it down.

These are all tough things to have to think about. But they’re things most of us confront at some point, and it always helps to be prepared.



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